Saturday, November 18, 2017
Day 29, Souda, Greece
Today we are docked in Souda on the island of Crete, our last port in Greece. Although we are docked in Souda our plans for today are to visit the nearby town of Chania and its old town area.
We docked at 8:00, but when we looked out we were disappointed to see the weather was again cloudy and rainy. We went back to bed as we were in no hurry to get out, but we finally left about 10:30. It was a only a short ten euro taxi ride to Chania so we passed up the shuttle and found a taxi.
The taxi dropped us off near the Agora, which is the Municipal Market of Chania and in the center of town. Thankfully it was not raining, but everything was still wet and it still looked pretty dark and gloomy. We spent quite a bit of time walking through the market, looking through the shops and staying out of the weather. It was not nearly as large as markets in larger cities, but it was still very interesting and we enjoyed our time there. The market also is gateway into the Old Town area of Chania.
From the market we decided to walk through the Old Town towards the Venetian Harbor and outer walls of the city. As we left the market, it started to lightly rain so out came the rain gear and we continued our walk. The streets were the typical narrow cobblestone streets we have become used to, lined with shops and cafes as well as residences. It was a short walk to the harbor and wow, what a great area, very picturesque and just what you expect Greece to look like.
The area around the small harbor was a large plaza lined with shops and cafes, which was very pretty and we just couldn’t stop taking pictures. We walked along one side of the harbor and met Charles and Judy form our evening trivia team and talked to them for a while. From there we retreated and walked around the other side of the harbor towards the Firka Fortress at the opening of the harbor. We walked past it, but that was pretty much the end of the Old Town area.
By this time the rain had stopped and we could see blue sky breaking through in places. As you walk along the plaza, all the cafes have someone out front trying to convince you that their food is the best, but it’s all in good fun and wasn’t annoying. On our return walk from the Firka Fortress we ran into Roy and Gabriella, the other two members of our evening trivia team. We talked to them for a while and then parted ways as they were headed down where we had just been.
We were getting hungry so decided to find a café and eat some lunch. By this time we were actually seeing sun shining and it had turned into a beautiful day, not cloud free, but warm and rain free with a lot of blue sky. Naturally we had to take all of our pictures again with the blue sky and sun shining. Val had downloaded a list of the best restaurants in the area so we picked out one of them and found ourselves sitting in the sun with a beautiful view of the harbor and the people walking by.
For lunch we chose a plate for two of assorted Greek food. As I have said before, I was not a fan of Greek food before our visit to Greece, but I have certainly changed my mind; our lunch was delicious. We spent a long leisurely time eating and watching the people go by, but there was more to do with limited time so we reluctantly paid our bill and continued our walking tour of the harbor area.
We noticed that the crowds had increased later in the afternoon and talked to some men who were from the Scottish Navy, German Air Force and Canadian Navy. It turns out there was a NATO exercise going on in the area, but they evidently had been given some time off to enjoy the area. In Souda where the ship docked, there is a Greek Naval Base as well as a NATO base.
We walked around the waterfront until we reached a small boat marina and decided to turn back. You can walk out on the old city wall out to a lighthouse like structure at the entrance to the harbor opposite the Firka Fortress, but we decided we just didn’t have enough time to do that. Val wanted to do a little more shopping so we wandered back to the Agora picking out a new route so we could see a little more of the Old Town area. When we walked through the area on our way to the harbor, there weren’t too many people about and most were just trying to stay dry, but with the rain stopping and the sun coming out, everyone was eating and shopping and enjoying themselves.
We walked back through the market and Val did a little more shopping, but by that time we were ready to go back to the ship. We were sailing away at 5:00 today and the all aboard was at 4:30. We found a taxi and were soon back at the ship. It was just past 3:30 so we were there in plenty of time.
What a wonderful day we had. Chania is a great place and so picturesque and just what you imagine Greece to be like. After getting back to our room, Val and I both admitted that after seeing the weather this morning, we both were wondering if it was really worth it to go. Thank goodness neither one of us voiced our concerns as we would have missed one of our favorite places so far on the cruise.
After resting for a while, I downloaded the many pictures we had taken and then we got ready for trivia, dinner and the casino. After our large, late lunch neither Val or I were hungry for dinner so after trivia, we just went up to the Lido for a snack. I broke even in the casino tonight so I have been having some good luck recently.
When we returned to our room, we saw that tomorrow we set the clocks back an hour so we are finally starting to gain back all those hours we lost. Tomorrow is a sea day so I plan on spending it catching up on the blog and sitting down with Val to review some more of our pictures.